Action against militants: Army top brass calls for political ownership

Published: June 12, 2014
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The meeting, which was presided over by Army Chief General Raheel Sharif, was attended by all corps commanders, principle staff officers and formation commanders. PHOTO: ONLINE

The meeting, which was presided over by Army Chief General Raheel Sharif, was attended by all corps commanders, principle staff officers and formation commanders. PHOTO: ONLINE

ISLAMABAD: Top military commanders, who met on Wednesday against the backdrop of the recent spike in terrorist attacks in the country, agreed that any concrete action against militant hideouts would require a ‘political ownership.’

“Political backing for the military action is crucial to achieve desired results,” a defence source told The Express Tribune after the day-long meeting of formation commanders in Rawalpindi. The meeting, which was presided over by Army Chief General Raheel Sharif, was attended by all corps commanders, principle staff officers and formation commanders.

The half yearly gathering of top generals coincided with the recent terror wave in the country, including Sunday’s brazen assault on the Karachi Airport that left dozens dead.

According to Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the forum was given comprehensive briefings on the external and internal security environment.  “The participants of the conference also dwelt at length on various professional matters,” it added.

However, the military’s media wing did not provide details about the discussions on internal and external security situation.

Military sources said the meeting discussed options to deal with the situation arising out of a series of attacks including the one at Karachi Airport as well as the killing of two army colonels near Tarnol. They said there was a consensus among participants that the state must respond to such acts of terrorism in a befitting manner.

While they expressed the army’s willingness to take on the challenge, they emphasised the need for ‘political ownership’ of any action against militants.

The government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, which has been pushing for a peace deal with Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), is so far reluctant to seek a military solution to the problem.

But following the recent spike in terrorist attacks, it is now facing immense pressure from the security establishment as well as certain opposition parties including PPP and ANP to consider alternatives.

In a first sign of apparent policy shift,PM Nawaz on Tuesday gave a go ahead to the army to preempt further terrorist attacks. However, the decision on whether to launch a full-scale military offensive in North Waziristan will be taken after more deliberations, said official sources.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 12th, 2014.

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Reader Comments (31)

  • G
    Jun 12, 2014 - 3:20AM

    Please overthrow government, General sahib…

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  • sabi
    Jun 12, 2014 - 3:30AM

    This is not the way institutions work asking journalists to convey the message.They meet prime minister almost every week what do they do there?

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  • Saleem
    Jun 12, 2014 - 3:42AM

    “Political backing for the military action is crucial to achieve desired results,”

    That is wishful thinking as Pakistani politicians can’t stand on their two feet for more than five minutes. They always talk from both side of their mouth and can’t think beyond jalsa and dharnas.

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  • Nadir
    Jun 12, 2014 - 4:30AM

    Wow! Things have changed. Civilians must provide backing for Army to get going.

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  • thirsty
    Jun 12, 2014 - 4:43AM

    i am with you my general eyes blink

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  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Jun 12, 2014 - 5:47AM

    Political backing is the most important step of war against terrorism. I think Politicians are afraid of the consequences if Military leaves the action incomplete or gives safe passage to its friends in Taliban who then come after politicians for revenge. Would it stand with politicians when politicians are slaughtered or it would profit from misery of the politicians?

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  • unbelievable
    Jun 12, 2014 - 5:49AM

    Army top brass calls for political ownership

    Can you image the “top brass” of the USA or any major Western power making a such a statement? Your top brass obviously doesn’t think it works for the elected govt. And when has the govt ever said “no” to any army operation?

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  • Ali Akber
    Jun 12, 2014 - 5:57AM

    Pakistan government make sure that tv channels should be more responsible and do not create hype.

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  • fahim
    Jun 12, 2014 - 6:19AM

    Sir, you have ruled this country for 80% of time… how much of the mess we are in today are you ready to own up?

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  • Rex Minor
    Jun 12, 2014 - 6:43AM

    Pakistan civilian Government has the choice to restructure and nationalise its army now without further delay, calling for conscription as well. It cannot be that army corps commanders still retain the control of the cities and towns as was during the military rule. The State within a State will not work nor is it possible to provide security for the army now, which is seeking city hideouts or constructing military cantonments thereby endangering civilians in towns. The army must move out of towns and move towards outside borders.

    Rex Minor

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  • Zaka
    Jun 12, 2014 - 7:01AM

    Please save us – takeover the country.

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  • Niki
    Jun 12, 2014 - 7:11AM

    @unbelievable:

    USA’s culture is different,both military and Govt they develp consensus over inetrnal and external mess. Pakistan’s politics is different. Gen. is right, without Govt’s back they cant eleimeinate Taliab

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  • Umar
    Jun 12, 2014 - 7:31AM

    Generals are absolutely right government and military should be on the same page and eliminate all differences for the sake of our country Pakistan. There are also some main points – First of all control the media which is exceeding its limit and second the judiciary should avoid freeing the renegades (missing persons). Then everything will be alright.

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  • Yassena Farid
    Jun 12, 2014 - 8:45AM

    Yes Pakistan has had dictatorship, we have tried democracy and all baby democracies need time but Pakistan is the exception to the rule. We need the military to control the huge spread of unlawfulness. So I request military rule with a time table. This will teach our unqualified politicians a pause to get their act together. It will strengthen our local security forces. The military can round up foreign fighters, deport them round up existing local fighters & warn them to shape up or face consequences of death.

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  • sabi
    Jun 12, 2014 - 8:55AM

    ET;please smell the coffee don’t let this precious space for hatching conspiracy against democracy.

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  • samir
    Jun 12, 2014 - 9:38AM

    @sabi: Maybe every week the PM does not listen to what they tell him. He is in his own dreamy world that everything will be fine.

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  • Asim
    Jun 12, 2014 - 9:49AM

    Shame on all those advocating army take over. Army rule has caused this mess in the first place.

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  • MAD
    Jun 12, 2014 - 10:15AM

    Since when has the army worried about such things as political backing. Remember Kargill?

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  • Ahmed
    Jun 12, 2014 - 10:23AM

    General Sb please take over this country, otherwise Pakistan will be the next Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen. Please…..

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  • Shah (Berlin)
    Jun 12, 2014 - 11:36AM

    @unbelievable:

    Yes I can….And if you are following any news the head of the NSA rejected Obamas request to stop tapping European Officials. He actually congratulated his team…The news was very hot in Germany radio and news channels were filled with discussions..!!!

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  • Muhammad
    Jun 12, 2014 - 11:44AM

    What’s holding you back Mr General? Why do you want to appear in media with this message for the govt when the govt has clearly given you the ho ahead for military action? Is it not enough political ownership? Why do you want to delay action against these murderers? If u had taken a timely action in waziristan this situation would not have arisen in the first place.

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  • Jun 12, 2014 - 12:49PM

    whole nation is wth army. Go and kill the militants

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  • Ashraf
    Jun 12, 2014 - 1:26PM

    Army uses politicians for convenience. On other times, they don’t care what the political class say. Very convenient.

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  • i4shad
    Jun 12, 2014 - 2:34PM

    In other words if the operation fails then political setup to take the blame….

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  • Nabidad
    Jun 12, 2014 - 2:59PM

    First overthrowing (Taleban backed Government) is must then full scale operation will be effective.

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  • Ali S
    Jun 12, 2014 - 3:17PM

    The army could start with browbeating IK and Co. into submission – it’s easier and less confrontational than going after the govt and would get rid of the ridiculous notion of ‘peace talks’ with these monsters that is shared by a large segment of urban population due to their support by PTI.

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  • hammad
    Jun 12, 2014 - 6:42PM

    This circus of unnamed and unknown sources should stop. btw, modern media rightly calls these news stories instead of news pieces – because these are merely stories and fairy tales.

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  • Asima Baksh
    Jun 12, 2014 - 7:35PM

    Shame on all those advocating army take over. Army rule has caused this mess in the first place.
    Shame on all those advocating Democracy. Democracy as we know it has caused this mess.
    When are we as citizens of Pakistan going to take responsibility that both these events happened on our watch, we allowed this mess we allow corruptionto grow daily we need to own it!

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  • Asim
    Jun 13, 2014 - 11:38AM

    @Asima Baksh:
    Yeah as if Ziaul haq (father of all terrorists) was a civilian? Mush (sustainer of terrorists who gifted them NWFP to rule) was a civilian. Please stop spreading falsehood.

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  • H Chaudhry
    Jun 13, 2014 - 8:28PM

    Didnt need political ownership for Kargil so why now General ?

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  • Zaida P
    Jun 14, 2014 - 5:52AM

    When the army sees the possibility of a serious backlash, they want the politicians to take ownership. On other occasions, they won’t even consider them as stakeholders. Sweet deal. But then, Pakistan belongs to the military.

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